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Shawn Davis, the chef of Big Shake's Hot Chicken and Fish in Tennessee and Alabama, shares his amazing southern fried chicken with a side of collard greens braised with a smoked turkey wing. The combo is a staple at Sunday dinners at home, and the chicken recipe was passed down from three generations of women in his family. He likes to round out the meal with sweet cornbread and baked mac and cheese.
And in case you were wondering where the name for his food chain came from, here's the story in Shawn's words: "I started working in restaurants when I was 12 years old because my mom wanted me to find something to do on my summer vacations. I was a big kid, and the first time I had an opportunity to work on the actual line, I shook like crazy because I was so nervous. One of the cooks called me out, said, 'Chef Big Shake, get over here!' And it stuck. I started running that kitchen when I was 16 years old, and needless to say, I don't shake anymore!"
For the collard greens, boil a very large pot of water.
Add the collards and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours over medium-high heat. Add the smoked turkey wing and all the dry ingredients and cook for another hour.
Add the butter, peppers and onion and cook until the collards are super tender, 30 to 45 minutes more.
When the collards are almost ready, make the chicken. Preheat the oil to 335°F in a large frying pan.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined. Scoop out ½ cup of the flour mixture into a large bowl and whisk in 2 cups water until the mixture is smooth. Add the chicken and coat with the wet mixture.
When the oil is ready, use one hand to pull the chicken out of the wet mixture and the other to dredge the chicken into the flour mixture. Before you place the chicken in the oil, make sure you shake off the excess flour, so it doesn't end up at the bottom of frying pan and burn, which will give your chicken a burnt flavor.
Do not overcrowd the frying pan—allow at least a ½ inch between each piece—and make sure you maintain the temperature throughout the frying process. Add the biggest pieces of chicken (breasts and thighs) first to allow them more time to cook through. Cook them for 5 minutes, then start adding the wings and legs. Allow between 15 and 17 minutes of total cook time or cook until the internal temperature is 165°F.
Serve the chicken with the collards.